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mc999

Home NAS advice - use commercial product or Roll-Your-Own?

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mc999

Hello to all!

 

New to the forum and have a question about a home NAS I'm wanting to install/use.

 

Firstly, my requirements:

1. Store all media files and some personal documents

2. Stream to Smart TV and media devices (Samsung Tab, iPad, etc)

3. 2 HDD bays (or 4 for room to grow if required)

4. Quietish (will be placed in the study under desk so doesn't need to be whisper quiet)

5. Lowish Power (but enough for some transcoding if required)

6. RAID not a necessity (have read pros and cons on this and other solutions for back-up/sage-guard of data)

 

My back-ground/skillset:

I can put things together (have built a few PCs and HTPCs).

I do have some exposure to Linux but not BSD.

 

I have the following as options:

1. Synology 216+ 2 bay

Pros:

-- Ready to go, add 2 x 3TB WD Reds HDDs to be purchased

-- Seems to have enough grunt

-- Good add-ins

-- Easyish setup

-- Expandable storage by using other Synology DX products

-- Very positive reviews

-- DSM software is very good with loads of plug-ins/apps across various devices (althogh not sure I'd even use them!)

 

Cons:

-- Need to apply for a new mortgage to get this ;-) Is a nice unit and have read good things about Synology products by price is steep and then the HDDs on top

-- ??

 

2. DNAP TS-251 (or TS-251+)

-- Ready to go, add 2 x 3TB WD Reds HDDs to be purchased

-- Seems to have enough grunt and the 251+ with 2G has some serious grunt

-- Expandable RAM

-- Good add-ins

-- Easyish setup

-- Reviews have been ultra positive (especially on + version)

-- loads of plug-ins/apps across various devices (althogh not sure I'd even use them!)

 

Cons:

-- Need to sell my 2nd child as well as refinance the house.

-- Various reports of not being up to build quality of Synology offerings but QST software is good (if not as polished as DSM)

 

 

3. HP N54L

Pros:

-- Not too underpowered (but then not a beast as well) AMD Turion II with 4GB RAM

-- Very low noise and low power (moreso when case fan is changed for a more silent one, which I already have in my hardware collection)

-- 4 HDDs plus OS hardware (USB, 2.5" or 3.5")

-- Lot of resources online

-- Cost is good (Adding 2 WD Reds is only slighty more than buying QNAP/Synology offerings without HDDs!)

-- Can install OMV (with plug-ins) [Not sure if NAS4Free or FreeNAS is suitable, might need more RAM and ECC at that]. Any other OS??? Not Windows..

 

Cons:

-- Might be getting a little old now?

-- Needs USB 3 for transfer/back-up to/from other drives (that said can get USB 3 PCI-e card for this)

-- Any others?

 

4. HP Gen 8 MS

-- Powered is OK (more than N54L) Celereno G1610T with 2GB RAM)

-- Low noise and low power - although have read lots of posts about loud fan noise if you don't use the RAID of built in controller

-- 4 HDDs plus OS hardware (USB, 2.5" or 3.5")

-- Lot of resources online

-- Cost is slightly more than N54L

 

Cons:

-- Fan noise issue: Not sure how to configure the internal RAID controller so first disak is set as RAIDO and then what do I do? That is, I'm unfamiliar with how this will work with the OS???

-- Not sure which OS - NAS4Free or FreeNAS would be suitable but needs more RAM and ECC at that].

 

 

5. A Silverstone SG06 case (was used as an HTPC before but hardware died)

Pros:

-- New hardware!

-- Looking at ASRock N3150 with passive heat-sink

-- Can install RAM at good price (up to mobo limit)

-- Quiet and lowish power (should be enough for NAS and transcoding needs)

-- Use external powerbrick (90W max) so no PSU fan noise.. although I have a very quiet Corsair and Seasonic that can be used)

-- SSD for OS

 

Cons:

-- Case is mATX - limited room for hard-disks (although 2 5.25" front-bays can be converted to 3.5" bays so can be up-to 4 HDDs)

-- OS?

 

Any advice/recommendations? The QNAP/Synology seem to be great products and will be set-and-forget but price point is high and yet the add-in apps seem endless...

 

Help?

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itGeeks

First I want to say welcome to the forums!

 

I have a lot to say on this topic to try help help you right now but I will chime in later today with all the knowledge I have. I will tell you I am a big Synology fanboy so I would of suggested that till I got to requirements #2

That box does not have the grunt to real-time trans-code if your using something like Plex. I will reply further later today when I have time. I am sure other will chime in before I get a chance.

Edited by itGeeks

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jmwills

I'm an expert at spending other people's money so take everything I say with a grain of salt.  The 2bay Synology should be around $200 and 3TB WD Red drives are around $100 each.  So for $400 you can use that as a budgeting figure.  It will draw much less power than your other options and can be made accessible form outside your LAN.  Nice product and I wouldn't look at anything else.

 

I have one as part of my 3-2-1 backup strategy.  The Synology box sits on the other end of the house than the servers so in case of fire I could grab either and be okay.  The only reason I mention that is becasue most people fail to plan for an adequate backup strategy as well.

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itGeeks

As jmwills said Synology is a really nice product if you want to go the NAS route as I have sevral of them. What concerning me is what your wanting to do with it, Mainly the real-time trans-coding now without knowing anything else about your media I would say spend the extra money and get the DS716+ if your sticking to the 2 bay NAS, It will be well worth it please see the video below for a great comparison of both units.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Yf3O0OIYwk

 

You also say "RAID not a necessity (have read pros and cons on this and other solutions for back-up/sage-guard of data)" I respectfully disagree with you on this, On a 2 bay NAS you would want to run RAID1 on a 4 bay NAS and above you would want to run a RAID5 or 6 depending on number of Drives used. now for some questions below-

 

1) What type of media files are we talking about?

2) What format are those media files in?

3) How many devices are you planning on streaming to at once and of those devices how many of those devices need trans-coding?

4) What software are you using or plan on using to stream media to those devices? If your planing on using the built in DS-Video app of Synology it is limited to the type of audio it can play.

4) How much data do you have now and whats the projected growth over the next 2-4 years? Don't be to conservative here.

Edited by itGeeks

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mc999

itGeeks, jmwills - thanks for the replies! And thanks for welcoming here.. lots of stuff to read here!!

 

Regardinging transcoding, I don't think on-the-fly is a high requirement as I have an nVidia Shield as media player on the way but I just wanted the abiliity and off-line would be OK too (then again my i7 lappie should do it better should I come across something that really needs it. I'm sure the Shield should be able to handle most of my media.

 

$400.. Yes that would be in YOUR area - US I see.. Here in Oz the QNAP/Synology prices are a little higher than that not to mention HDDs... if I convert $400 to local that's about $530... which is manageable. Unfortunately the reality HERE is the following: ds216+ is priced around $440 (Ozzie) and the QNAP around $480.. add to that my meagre space requirements of 2 GB (RAID 1 so we're talking 2 x 2 GB WD Red) which cost $140 each - this hits around $760... Like you said jmwills you ARE and expert in spending other people's money! :-)

 

In answer to your questions:

1) What type of media files are we talking about? Mostly music and movies, rips from movies I own

 

2) What format are those media files in? Music -->FLAC, MP3, WAV Movies --> Mixture of MKV, MP4, AVI

 

3) How many devices are you planning on streaming to at once and of those devices how many of those devices need trans-coding? An IPad (for the little one) and a Galaxy Tab - but this won't be that often. Mainly to the Shield.

 

4) What software are you using or plan on using to stream media to those devices? If your planing on using the built in DS-Video app of Synology it is limited to the type of audio it can play. I see the QNAP/Syn have a vast array of apps but I'd be using DLNA or Plex.. nothing fancy.. haven't looked into it too much so this may change. What do you suggest?

 

4) How much data do you have now and whats the projected growth over the next 2-4 years? Only 1.5 TB but this would grow to double or more I'd say... so 4 TB

 

I'm not a media-hog by any means so I don't think going 4 Bay would be warranted.. Although the redundancy of 4 HDD is what most people would be thinking I imagine...

 

You thoughts? Possibly a lower spec QNAP/Syn if I'm not hung up on transacoding yeah?

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itGeeks

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

 

In answer to your questions:

1) What type of media files are we talking about? Mostly music and movies, rips from movies I own

 

2) What format are those media files in? Music -->FLAC, MP3, WAV Movies --> Mixture of MKV, MP4, AVI

 

3) How many devices are you planning on streaming to at once and of those devices how many of those devices need trans-coding? An IPad (for the little one) and a Galaxy Tab - but this won't be that often. Mainly to the Shield.

 

A) the shield as good as it maybe may also need real-time trans-coding from time to time for things like sub-titles, There are many factors cause trans-coding not just media type, For the other devices   you have there will be trans-coding for sure unless you have the media all ready in the proper format.

 

4) What software are you using or plan on using to stream media to those devices? If your planing on using the built in DS-Video app of Synology it is limited to the type of audio it can play. I see the QNAP/Syn have a vast array of apps but I'd be using DLNA or Plex.. nothing fancy.. haven't looked into it too much so this may change. What do you suggest?

 

A) as a longtime Plex user I would suggest Plex but keep in mind CPU horse power is your friend here. Plex recommends a passmark score of 2000 for every 1080p stream that needs trans-coding,     See link https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us/articles/201774043-What-kind-of-CPU-do-I-need-for-my-Server-computer-

Synology DS-Video has some problems with some audio formats such a Dolby Digital and if you have MKVs with multiple audio formats your bound to get no audio from it. MP4 and AVI's should be fine with it.

 

4) How much data do you have now and whats the projected growth over the next 2-4 years? Only 1.5 TB but this would grow to double or more I'd say... so 4 TB

I'm not a media-hog by any means so I don't think going 4 Bay would be warranted.. Although the redundancy of 4 HDD is what most people would be thinking I imagine...

 

A) if your thinking 4TB over the next few years and your stuck on a 2 bay NAS I would do nothing less then 5-6TB drives, My favorite NAS drives are the WD Reds.

I started out just like you thinking a two bay NAS would be plenty but I very quickly outgrew it, When your dealing with media you will be amazed how quick you could fill that up so what I am saying       is money spent   now will save you money later, Choose wisely here. For me I would do no less then a 4 bay NAS because yes of the redundancy and expansion later on, You could also use one or 2 of the extra bays to create a separate volume for backups. Just food for thought here.

 

You thoughts? Possibly a lower spec QNAP/Syn if I'm not hung up on transacoding yeah?

 

A) again if your planing on running Plex on this device and your stuck on a two bay NAS I would urge you to look at the DS716+ as your NAS of choice, It has the reported horsepower to do real-time     trans-coding for 1 stream and some have reported doing more then 1 at a time, Have a look at this link

https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/190771/synology-ds716-could-it-natively-run-plex-and-even-   transcode-up-to-4k

Your other option would be don't run Plex on the NAS and put it on a Core i5 or above and just use the NAS for storage and some of the other great apps that Synology has but I would still only              purchases there + models because you can use the new btrfs file system and that alone is well worth it.

Edited by itGeeks

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Al_Borges

The first thing I'd ask myself -    Do I want an appliance or a hobby ? -  or something in between

 

The NAS unit recommendations given above are excellent -    QNAP and Synology are favored in this forum for good reason.   They have dozens of models and configurations available and great selection of apps. 

 

You buy one of these and you should be up and running within a hour or so of receiving the package from your door step.

 

I wasnt being entirely cheeky about the hobby part  -   Rolling your own server is definitely an option but will take time to install and optimize

 

You sound like you are a not a newbie but there is a learning curve. 

 

A decent homebrew system  is roughly cost competitive with equivalent commercial NAS's   of equivalent power. 

 

You can go with a "free" OS , such as  Freenas or Unraid  or use a Windows desktop OS or all the way to a  full windows server OS

 

 

I went with a homebrew system myself -- based on windows 10

 

I wanted a Intel CPU for moderate transcoding loads and the ability to use Drivepool/Drivescanner for managing my drives ( I prefer that over RAID)

 

My previous server went bad -   a 6 year old motherboard gave up the ghost -   but having the drives in Drivepool saved me -  the drives just got transfered over to the new box without a hitch

Much easier than if I had them in  some sort of raid configuration

 

 

also was able to reuse RAM/ SSD and harddrives from my previous server , so that kept the cost down

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Poppapete

 

 

I went with a homebrew system myself -- based on windows 10

 

 

I have come to the conclusion that it is the best solution for someone with a little geek in them.  It's halfway between a NAS and a full blown server at a price that can be cheaper than NAS if you have some older hardware to reuse.  Would MS mind if you used your laptop or desktop W10 version to run the setup to save on paying for a new licence?

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itGeeks

I have come to the conclusion that it is the best solution for someone with a little geek in them.  It's halfway between a NAS and a full blown server at a price that can be cheaper than NAS if you have some older hardware to reuse.  Would MS mind if you used your laptop or desktop W10 version to run the setup to save on paying for a new licence?

I am going to agree and disagree at the same time, It would depend on what NAS your comparing it to. If your comparing it to the QNAP TVS series NAS then hands down you are correct but if your comparing it to the Synology NAS then I would say the cost is about the same but your getting much more horse power for the same price + or - a few bucks as lets say a Synology DS1815+ that I own

http://www.amazon.com/Synology-Station-Network-Attached-DS1815/dp/B00P3RPMEO 

So lets say for about a thousand bucks he could build an 8 bay NAS that is not a low power Atom processor like the DS1815+, The OP still needs to add drives to the cost to the build but that would give him a much more powerful NAS server then he could purchase from QNAP at that price. It all depends on how much the OP wants to spend and if he is willing to build his own, I am going to outline a build I am going to do after I relocate and free up some money so the OP has an idea of an alternate solution that would blow away any off the shelf NAS at this price point, this will give him or anyone else something to think about and all though its not going to be cheap like a low powered Synology NAS it will be much cheaper the the QNAP TVS series NAS that has the core i processors, See below for my parts list-

 

For the case I am going with this really nice 8 bay hot-swap drives http://www.u-nas.com/xcart/product.php?productid=17617&cat=0&featured=Y

For the motherboard I have a few options I am considering but I am leaning towards this ASRock Intel® Octa Core Avoton C2750 Processor and purchasing 16GB of ECC Memory so I can run some VMs on it

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157475

 

For hard drives I am going WD Reds probably 5-6TB drives and I am not sure how many yet or what RAID type I will be using but it will be either RAID 5 or RAID 6.

 

The setup would be as follows I am going to install Windows 10 Pro so I can host a VM of XPenology for those of you that don't know what this is its the Synology DSM software that runs on your own hardware so you don't have to pay for the over priced hardware from Synology to get there 5 stare rated OS. I will also run Plex and my IP camera NVR software on this box. This build will blow away the hardware you get from Synology but will allow you to use there great software. I can't wait to do this build. If the OP wants options and do his own build then look at what I am planning to do and spend the extra cash for a system at this price point will blow away the Synology hardware but still allow him to use Synology DSM

Edited by itGeeks

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LoneWolf

Al_Borges has a great answer.  It depends on whether you want a device --or whether you want a hobby.  And you have one sort-of-in-between step; I'll get there in a moment.

 

As a device, the Synology DS216+ is a decent choice.  The Celeron N3050 processor is actually a dual-core Atom (Braswell core) which also has some hardware video decoding features, though that won't apply to heavy transcoding.  With the Shield, transcoding may not be all that necessary, and it will probably serve for anything shy of H.265/HEVC.  For HEVC, you may wish to compare the (actually less-expensive, but not Intel) DS216play, which can transcode H.265, and is good forward thinking for the future.

 

On the hobby end is building it totally yourself.  A decent mini-ITX board; example:  The ASUS N3700-ITX, which I have in my home theater system, which uses a quad-core Pentium N3700 (the same Braswell core, but faster with four cores), and, say two 4GB DDR3 SO-DIMMs (dual channel memory = better throughput).  An Intel ET dual-port PCIe gigabit NIC in the one PCIe slot (best driver support comes with Intel).  And several SATA drives done in software, with a small case and modest power supply.  Load FreeNAS or XPenology, and you're good to go.

 

The final option would be something like the base-model HP Microserver Gen8 to do the same, or an HP Microserver N54L.  The initial processor is enough. 4GB or 8GB of RAM (8GB if you want to do FreeNAS).  A dual-port NIC is standard on the Gen8, but it requires more expensive ECC memory (though that's more stable; the N54L can use ECC or non-ECC, just don't mix it).  The N54L isn't as fast, nor is it as good for transcoding video, but both have four bays so you can do a nice job with drives.  I tend to think the Gen8 is a better choice, if you have the cash.  Most of this system is built for you, and easy to work with.  It might cost slightly more than the DIY solution, but it's solid hardware.

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